Image: Pilgrim Flask Dollar Sign Stoneware, cooper carbonate, iron oxide and rutile wash 3x3x1.5 in
I had a facetime studio visit with Kathleen O’Hara and her hand built Pilgrim Flasks that are one of my latest art crushes. She will be part of a show at Concord Art in Concord, MA – CLAY HAS ITS SAY – that will be rescheduled.
Here’s what Kathleen had to say about this new work…
Much of my work centers around the concept of illusion being the truth. These small clay pieces are reproductions of pilgrim flasks, the vessels used to collect holy water and oil and worn as necklaces by pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during the Middle Ages.
When I first saw these small ampullae I was struck by their simple, crude beauty and the idea of a 9th or 10th century souvenir. The concept of replicating these vessels came to me when I accidentally stepped on a ball of clay in my studio and noticed the beautiful debossed pattern made by the sole of my Nike sneaker. The incentives and politics of pilgrimage are complex and layered but it seems to me that many peoples are currently making pilgrimages to promised lands wearing whatever shoes they own. And so, I began making a series of replica pilgrim flasks, faux relics, embellished with shoe impressions from a variety of shoes, to honor the hopeful treks made by all peoples seeking salvation